The 5 Day Pouch Test – Can It Help?

diet is die with a T

I am still fighting off all the cravings that were kicked up by eating the rice pudding last week. I may have only blogged about it and trigger foods a few days ago but that was after spending 3 or 4 days actually eating the stuff. While I’m working to get back on track I figured this would be the perfect time to cover the 5 day pouch test.

Over the years I’ve seen much written about this test, technique, fad diet or whatever else you might want to call it. People who have encountered it seem to have a love/hate relationship with it. Some love it and have found it helpful for getting them back on track. Others despise it and call it a fad diet. So what exactly does a soon to be graduating dietetic/nutrition student who will be going on to becoming a registered dietitian have to think about it? Well, first I think we need to take a look at the bigger picture behind the reasons for doing the 5 day pouch test. Give it a bit of time, stay on track and the weight will begin to come off again.

Why would anyone want to do something like the 5 day pouch test or any other type of “diet” when they have already had weight loss surgery? There are usually two reasons. The dreaded regain and the depressing slowed weight loss.

I often see the panic stricken posts from surgical newbies (those who are less than 1 to 1 1/2 years out from surgery) on various facebook groups. Their posts go something like this:  Heeelllllppppp!!! I had surgery X number of weeks or months ago. At first I was losing X number of pounds a week and now I haven’t lost anything for the past week or two. Oh no I think I’ve broken my pouch and feel like a failure!

The re-gainers may or may not have reached whatever goal weight was set for them. Things have remained stable for a while and then the regain sets in. Perhaps the scale slowly went up a few pounds at a time. Perhaps it jumped quickly. Either way the scale is heading in a direction that we had hoped it would never go again.

No matter what the reason, I’ve seen many people turn to the 5DPT or other methods for kick starting the weight loss. What can be accomplished by this? Should you do it?

The surgical newbies are worried that they are not losing as fast as other people, their weight loss has slowed down or may have even stopped for a week or two or three. To all the newbies out there I would say to please stop, take a deep breath and relax. Not everyone loses the same amount each week but just about everyone will ultimately see their weight loss slow down or even stall. It’s perfectly normal. You will always lose weight faster when you are heavier. As your weight goes down the amount you lose will also decrease. It’s normal. You are not broken. You most likely aren’t doing anything wrong. Your body just needs to catch up and make internal adjustments to deal with what is going on. You would be amazed at what kind of hormonal craziness is going on during this whole process. Unless you’ve gone back to eating like you did before surgery then there is no need to turn to the 5DPT or any other type of diet during this time. This phase is for learning how to eat better while you are losing weight. It’s not ONLY about the weight loss. I know the big focus is on weight loss. I did it myself. In reality you have bought yourself a window of opportunity to change your eating habits. Use it wisely.

Re-gainers turn to the 5DPT and other “diets’ because we have regained weight. We are looking for something to get us back on track so we can begin losing weight again or at least stop the current regain. We are looking to regain control of our eating. These are the people who things like the 5DPT and other plans are aimed at. Should you do it? Is it healthy or helpful? Is it just a crazy fad diet? This one requires a much longer answer then what I would tell newbies. For this reason I’m breaking this down into two posts. Check back for the second half.

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